AMES, IOWA — In hope of bolstering a defense that Iowa State wants to see drastically improve in 2015, the Cyclones sent eight new JUCO faces onto the field for the first day of fall camp Friday.
The barrage of new faces may not be the only difference this season.
Iowa State ran multiple three-man fronts during the first day of practice, using ends Trent Taylor and Dale Pierson and tackle Demond Tucker as the front with a group of four linebackers. That doesn't mean Iowa State, which has run some three-man fronts in the past, is in for a complete change in philosophy."You know, you're always tweaking," defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. "What we've done [is] we've taken what we did in the past with our 3-4 and taken some of the stuff out and added some new stuff. That's all we've done. We've done the same thing with our four-man front. So we're not doing anything differently, it's just we're schematically doing some different things."
The three-man front would allow Iowa State to drop eight players into coverage as well as try different blitzing packages. The Cyclones allowed nearly 283 passing yards per game in 2014, and a three-man front would allow the unit to drop another player into coverage.
Burnham said in a 3-4 package Iowa State would keep its nickel (Jay Jones), have its weakside linebacker (Levi Peters) play outside as a dropping linebacker and then in a sense use two middle linebackers (Jordan Harris and Kane Seeley), enabling the unit to get bigger players in the middle. That could help a run defense that surrendered 246 rushing yards per game last season.
Will Iowa State play more 3-4 in 2015?
"If we can we'll play some more, and we feel like we can," Burnham said. "But you can't rush three all day, so we'll play our four-man front and three-man front."